Title: Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publication Date: February 25th 2014
Genre: Sci-Fi YA
On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.
When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.
This book is on the edge for me. I loved it and hated it at the same time. The plot was slow, but the world building was amazing. Then there’s the characters, who were either boring or extremely interesting. It’s a toss up, each thing on one end or the other without anything really in between.
Plot wise, the book starts with a bang – on the head. We immediately start empathizing with Tula as she struggles to figure out why her, and then becomes determined to figure out how she’ll get her revenge. She grows up around aliens and then salvation comes to her in the form of three very not important humans. It’s such a dynamic beginning, but the plot gets bogged down by the amazing world building. While I would’ve loved to see this in The Hunger Games (along with its amazing plot), and I loved the amazingly unique world that was created, the book lacked much movement in terms of plot.
However, that being said, I loved the idea of humans no longer being a dominant race among aliens. Instead, we’re a race that is looked down upon, a race that is slowly failing in maintaining a population. I found the concept to be absolutely fascinating and that’s probably what kept me reading.
Back to the world building. It was amazing. The descriptions were vivid, and brought the world to life. The planet, the aliens, they were all painted extremely well through the author’s words, and it really added to the book (but also took away from it, as mentioned previously). You really got a feel for how Tula’s world and reality had changed and how the new environment was so different in comparison to what we’re used to. It was definitely a unique world, and I loved that I got a chance to jump right into it.
Lastly, we have the characters. Some of the characters were interesting, like the aliens. I liked learning about them, their way of life, how they interact, and how they treat humans, and Tula. However, Tula felt very… robotic to me. Maybe it was the writing style but her thoughts and actions were very choppy and that took away from the book’s fluidity and pace. In addition, when they try to introduce some sort of love interest(s) for her, it kind of takes away from the book, as I found that the three new additions just didn’t fit right. Maybe I was hoping she’d have some star crossed inter-breed love with a kind alien, but … alas…
Overall, the book wasn’t too bad. Wasn’t amazing (thought the world building was pretty awesome) due to the general blandness of the plot and characters. I wouldn’t go running to pick it up, but there’s definitely something about it that made the novel shine.
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.77/5
eARC provided by Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.